Reforming a university during political transformation: a case study of Yangon University in Myanmar

2016-09-23T12:50:37Z (GMT) by James Esson K. Wang
Since 2010, Myanmar has been transitioning from an authoritarian military regime towards a parliamentary democracy. Several education policies have been launched as part of this political transformation process, including the reform of Myanmar’s flagship higher education institution, Yangon University. This article investigates the reform of Yangon University. Through so doing, we examine a key node in Myanmar’s higher education system, and contribute to academic debates over higher education reforms in countries undergoing political transformations. The article draws on qualitative data obtained from stakeholders involved in the reform of Yangon University, and uses Arnhold et al.’s ‘educational reconstruction framework’ to conceptualize the reform process. It is argued that while improvements have been made to the physical infrastructure, there has been a failure to consider the ideological and psychological reconstruction of the university, which staff and students alike deem essential to transforming long standing authoritarian practices, and creating a constructive learning environment.